I've seen some of The Thief and the Cobbler before, in bits and pieces, probably from all those animation documentaries and compilations through the years. It's impressive all right--partly inspired by M.C. Escher, and it's right smart of Williams or whoever did the production art and backgrounds to tie in Escher's and various abstract styles with Islamic architecture, which use srepeating geometric shapes and fractals in their designs. Certain characters are a joy--Jonathan Winter's thief, the brigands (who have the best single song), and Vincent Price's lovely cadences. And I can see where the vulture was stolen for Disney's Aladdin.
The script's the weakest part; standard-issue boy-thief going after standard-issue Disney-style princess (complete with spunk, absentminded father, and Broadway power ballads), with a MacGuffin (three gold balls) to start things rolling. And I felt that the villain's huge monster machine was revealed too late, just when it's breaking apart, to be all that impressive.
It's like this great storyteller who uses all his skill and magic to tell yet another tiresome love story--maddening and fascinating, in equal measure. I suppose the complete workprint will make a difference (though Winters' ad libs at times was the only thing sustaining my interest), but I'm not quite sure how.